Monday, May 27, 2013

Hermanita Sonrisa

My wonderful family and loved ones:

Serving a mission por la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias en Nicaragua for these 7 weeks is the HARDEST thing I have ever done (and I've feel I have experienced a lot of hard things). Its been grueling, but I have learned more in this 3 months than I have learned in my 20 years of life. I have learned so much about myself, who I truly am, and so much more I cant even begin to describe. Only by serving a mission could this have been possible. My success and happiness on this mission is ONLY possible through faith in Jesucristo. Christ didn’t just suffer to cleanse us from sin, he suffered so he could lift our burdens and help us through hardships as well. Through faith in Him I will be able to do all that I am asked on this mission. I couldn’t be more grateful for the gift of the Expiación and the beautiful role it plays in my life. Alma 34:40-41 dice: 'I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions... with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.'

Even though I want to, I can’t give up just yet. I don’t know quite what it is, but something is keeping me here. This is something I need to fight for for as long as I can. If I don’t make it till the end, I know you will all support me in the course my life decides to take. I'm not saying I'm all of the sudden strong, I cry wanting to go home every day (I'm a sensitive little thing) but through faith, the beautiful attribute of paciencia, your prayers, love and support, I can do this :) Don't be surprised if another 'I want to go home email comes', just pray for me. I can feel it every time you do.

Mom, Dad and Jace. Thank you so much for you beautiful emails. I printed them out so I can read them every time I need strength. I love you more than you could possible imagine.

Guess what? Mom, I got your wonderful package Friday morning at Zone Conference! Look at you still taking care of me being a thousand miles away. The camisas are absolutely beautiful, and your love radiates off of them. When I wear them, I feel like a little part of you is with me. And a Reese's fast break? Best tasting thing I have eaten in ages! I cant thank you enough Mom. You are and always have been my best friend. 'virtual hug' :)

We had our 3rd baptism this week to wonderful William! Words cant even describe how much I adore him, and how grateful I am Heavenly Father let us teach him. There isn’t anyone else on earth as genuine and Christ like as he (besides Katherine). But his baptism... UGH. He had to be baptized 6 times in a row because Roger kept doing it wrong (my face was beat red for them) and I'm not exaggerating when I say 6. Literally 6 TIMES. Why does every baptism have to be so dramatic... At least I can look back and laugh right? Heh... heh...

My companion is going to be the death of me... I don’t know how I'm going to spend every second of every minute of every day for another 2 months with that woman, but I'm going to give it my best try. I don’t even know how I've made it 7 weeks... I literally might shoot myself in the face, or let myself get eaten by a dog. Fe. Paciencia. Tranquila.

Hermana Vasquez and I almost drowned in a Nicaraguan thunder storm this week! It was raining so hard I couldn’t see two feet in front of me through my glasses. We were screaming! My umbrella was blowing away in  a wet tornado of wind. The streets turned into rivers of mud and we were completely soaked head to toe. Hermana Vasquez whipped out a huge yellow poncho out of her backpack, and she looked so cute in it (like a screaming Guatemalan rubber ducky) dragging me through the river that had been a street two seconds before. She doesn’t let me sing anything other than hymns, but I sang Singing in the Rain at the TOP of my lungs. We were saved by a guardian angel who peddled us home on his cabonera. The power was out that entire night but we used Sammy’s Wallie flashlight and Matthew’s flashlight with the colored lights on the sides that mom had packed last minute! What a blessing it was to have those and new batteries on hand. Thanks mom! It made me miss my 3 lil bros even more than I already did. Tell them I love them for me! Tell Chesty and Tophey I love them too. How is lil Toph? I hope he’s not too much trouble. I picture him waddling around these streets with the other dogs and it makes me laugh haha :)

I gave the spiritual thought at Zone Conference in perfect Spanish on Jueves... YES! Thank you Heavenly Father... The Norte Elders were so proud of me, haha.

Oh how I love this gospel. Every day I learn more about the principles, ordinances, attributes of Christ, and the deepness of their meanings forever imprint themselves on my heart. Because I have learned so much, even the lyrics to hymns have a deepness and beauty in them I didn’t see before. Through prayer, scripture study, and Preach my Gospel, the secrets of this gospel unfold and the truth of these things is undeniable. I wish I could read and study all day long, but I have to be out in the Nicaraguan streets practically begging people to let us teach them in a language I hardly speak. People don’t fully understand how hard missionary work is, but the pain I feel out here isn’t even a fraction of what Christ did in Gethsemane. All I have to do is lean on him, listen and follow the promptings of the Spirit, and do what I was sent here to do.

The people here have officially named me Hermanita Sonrisa, because of the constant smile I don’t even notice is there. The people here don’t even smile when they laugh, so seeing a smiler is different enough to name someone after it :)

I have so many more stories for you all! I'll jot them all down so I don’t forget, and next week we have to email on Martez instead of Lunes because of a meeting thingy, so until Martes!

With Love,

Hermana Nielson aka Hermanita Sonrisa

ps: I promise I know how to type and spell these Spanish keyboards are ridiculous!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Struggling

I've received many texts, phone calls and e-mails asking about our missionary. Thank you all so much for your concern. Here is an excerpt from her last letter. She is really home-sick and struggling.

This experience has completely solidified my testimony, and I love this gospel with every ounce of my entire being. I dedicate my entire life to keeping the commandments and I love my Heavenly Father and love Jesus Christ more than I love myself. This gospel means everything to me, but I miss you all so much...

Continued and increase of prayers on her behalf are so appreciated. Hugs to all!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An early Mother's Day surprise!

My cell phone rang several times with a number I didn't recognize from Miami, Florida. "Hello", I said repeatedly with no response. Silence. After the 5th attempt I thought, it's either a really determined telemarketer or my Dad calling from Mexico with some funky calling card. And then finally, the broken up words, "Mom, this is Sarah!" OH MY GOSH!!! I screamed so loud Analisa who was down stairs blow drying her hair ran up shouting, I want to talk! Oh my sweet baby Sarah, I love you and can't tell you how proud I am of you, I poured through the phone! She cried and said how good it was to hear my voice. I am calling to schedule a time to talk to you on Dia De Las Madres she said proudly. I could hear her being rushed. I only have a minute left she said so I spoke in the phone as fast as I could telling her how much I loved her and enjoyed her letters and could imagine chickens and rabid dogs following her around on the dirt roads of Nicaragua! All that for a girl who refused to go to girls camp, I added. She just laughed and laughed. I know, she beamed. What a blessing! Analisa and I had smiles we couldn't wipe off. "Day made", Analisa said. I couldn't agree more :)

I received more pics from her time at the CCM from her dear friend Hermana S. What a beautiful, radiant bunch of missionaries!

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Blanca Nieves

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gallos and Gallinas

What a week. I’m FINALLY used to my new life as a Nicaraguan and have accepted that this is my new home for the next little while. Instead of missing home, I’ve switched my mind set and fall more in love with Nicaragua every day.

I absolutely LOVE our investigators. Every single one of them is so special to me. We teach young people, old people, families and all sorts of interesting characters. It’s hard walking miles from house to house in the heat to find them not home, or busy, and a lot of them don’t fully accept out messages. I’m learning the beautiful trait of patience while working with these people (especially my crazy companion) but there are those few that God has fully prepared for us. Sweet little William, (reminds me so much of Matthew and his dog so much of Topher) has gone to church, Young Mens activities and soaks in our messages like a sponge. What a wonderful boy he is. On the phone I’ll tell you about all of them individually so you can love them with me!

WE had our second baptism this week! A completely uneducated (can't read) man named Julio and I love him to death. I couldn't be more proud of him. The baptism was so beautiful and he received El Don del Espiritu Santo on Sunday at church... Ha, couldn't be more happy for him! Baptisms are the BEST part of missionary work!

Living here, contacting and walking around these streets is so scary for me sometimes. Because I’m so white and look so different, I stick out like a sore thumb. When 2 Nicaraguans are on either side of me we look like an Oreo! haha :) Its scary being out here so alone with no one to keep an eye on us or take care of us, but I know that Lord doesn't leave us alone for a second. Hermana Vasques takes care of me like a mother bear watches her cub. She gets frustrated with me sometimes (a lot) but there is no other Hermana I would rather be with.

Ahhh, I love you soo much and can’t thank you enough for everything you do for me. I wish there was something I could do to repay you! I am forever indebted to you all, and promise to serve to the BEST of my ability. Thank you for EVERYTHING. Words cannot express my love for you all. Ahhh MOM the shirts are PERFECT! I cant wait to get them! Thank you sooo much! As for the other packages, I know they are safe and in good hands. God is watching over them and they will be with me in no time. I promise. I can feel it.

My least favorite animal in the entire world: Gallos y gallinas. I STRONGLY dislike those nasty like things... (big things) haha and they’re EVERYWHERE. We'll be teaching a lesson and a big fat disease infested chicken will come waddling through our legs. I LOVE the dogs no matter how gross they are but chickens? No...

Ahhh this gospel is beautiful and so true I can’t believe people want to live without it. I feel so much like Nephi in 2 Nephi 33:3 when he cries for the people on his pillow at night. Whenever I’m missing music, ice-cream, t.v, air-conditioning, my beautiful family and friends, all I have to do is realize this isn’t about me. This is about them. This is about the salvation of the beautiful people of Nicaragua. The Lord needed a body, and he picked me to be an instrument in his hands. It's an honor and a privilege to be here, and I couldn't be more grateful. I cant wait to talk to you all this next coming week! I have to much I personally want to tell all of you that I can’t type! What ever day it is that I can call, cant come soon enough. I love you soooo much and will talk to you then!

Dad! Thanks for the language help! And Mom LOVE the pictures you sent me, they are BEAUTIFUL! LOVE your beautiful children aka my siblings! Tell them I love them!

With Love,

Hermana Nielson